Fun Preschool Math Activities for Parents
It's easy to encourage an early love of math in your child while preparing them with the numeracy skills they need to succeed in school.
There are plenty of everyday opportunities to develop early math skills through simple activities that are fun and motivating for your preschooler. Besides workbooks, puzzles and online math programs like Mathseeds, here are some fun preschool math activities you can try at home.
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Make shapes using play dough
Play dough creates many great opportunities for hands-on learning activities, including learning about and manipulating different shapes. Show your child some 2D and 3D shapes and ask them to mould the shapes using play dough. You can also use shape cutters to help guide them.
Sort the toy basket
Sorting and classifying objects is an important way to help your child understand the nature of math. You can easily introduce these skills by gathering a basket or box of toys and helping your child sort each item by size, color or type (e.g. cars, soft toys, dolls).
Fill up cups, jars and containers during bath time
Collect jars, cups and containers of different sizes and bring them to bath time to explore the concepts of 'full' and 'empty'. Talk about what's happening as you play. For example, "The cup is now full, no more water can fit in!" and "Let's pour water from the small cup to the big cup and see if it becomes full."
Online math games
Online math programs are a great way to build essential numeracy skills in a fun and highly motivating way for your preschooler. Look for online math programs that have been designed by expert educators and match your child's individual level. Mathseeds provides hundreds of one-on-one lessons and math games that you can try for free here.
Playing shop is a fun way to practise early math skills and show your child how numbers and counting are a part of everyday life. Gather toys or grocery items and label them with prices written on sticky notes. You can pretend to buy and sell items using play money or creating your own paper money. This will teach your child the concept of paying for items using notes and coins.
Count and cook
Cooking is a great activity to introduce your preschooler to fractions and measurement. Show them different measuring tools and talk about the concept of fractions, such as explaining how two half cups make one whole cup.
Don't drop the ball
Count the number of times you and your child can throw a ball to each other without dropping it. You can also count the number of times you can tap a balloon before it reaches the ground.
Play heads or tails
Introduce your child to the concept of chance and probability with a simple game of heads or tails. Probability tells us that for a single coin toss, there are two possible outcomes — heads or tails — so the chance of getting either is one in two, or 50 per cent.
Patterns help children learn how to sequence and to make predictions, which are important skills for building a variety of math skills. Experiment with your preschooler by creating different patterns or necklace designs using macaroni, beads or cereal (e.g. green, white, orange, green, white, orange). Building block towers is also a fun activity that helps your preschooler practise sequencing.
Guess the weight
Use kitchen scales to weigh certain objects around the house, such as a toilet paper roll or a pumpkin. You can also help your child estimate the weight of each object before weighing them.
Call out a number and ask your preschooler to find it. You can do this activity while driving (e.g. spotting numbers on signs, houses and number plates) or while shopping. You can also ask them to identify shapes, colors and patterns out in the real world.
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